We were at a bonfire over the weekend to christen our friends’ recent purchase of land. And I felt old.

It wasn’t the classically played out, “Our friends have kids and their friends have kids, does this mean we should be having kids? Are we at that age now?” Instead, I watched as the kids laughed and ran alongside whichever lucky child was being pulled on a sled through the snowy, stamped-down trails. It wasn’t long before I felt overwhelmed by movement and small voices, so I ambled away from the group into the quieter, back area of the property.

Reckoning with Adulthood

Lately, I have been struggling with coming to terms with adulthood and what that means for my life (present and future), my personality, and my interests. I like old people stuff– afghans, pretty dishes that we don’t really need, cooking and eating well (because, let’s be honest, we can’t all eat a whole pizza like we’re 16 anymore), and going to bed before 10pm. But I also like Instagram. And the struggle is still real for this 23 year old.

I know I’m not writing about anything earth shattering here, but I guess you could say I am surprised to still be in that in-between stage of kind of being an adult and kind of being a kid. I am feeling more and more like an adult, but there’s this inner conflict– shouldn’t I be wanting to go out more? Shouldn’t I be drinking out of plastic cups and not care that I don’t own a full set of silverware? Shouldn’t I be in that “just living” phase where it doesn’t matter because YOLO?

We were watching Neighbors on Sunday and towards the end of the movie, Seth Rogen and his on-screen wife are in bed at the end of the night, talking about the adult things they enjoy. And honestly? I completely related. I, too, love brunch and the container store. I like seeing my 401k grow. I like putting together meal plans because the week goes smoother when I do. Yes, Seth Rogen made me feel slightly better about my impending life as a grown-up, imagine that.

The thing that worries me most? I am starting to understand why some creative people choose a life in a corporate world– it’s stifling, yes, and there are so many branding rules that get tiresome, but it’s stable. It feels good knowing we can pay our bills and also buy groceries for the week. Caleb and I just started a gym membership, which we weren’t able to have before. We’re taking care of ourselves. But with every bite of quinoa, there’s a bitter taste of yesterday’s dreams disintegrating on my tongue. Every art kid wants to have a big impact or feels that they have something great to give to the world. I was no different. So what I’m struggling with is this: Am I letting goals and aspirations fall by the wayside because I am working at a job that doesn’t allow for great creative expression? Am I losing the tenacity I once had and instead settling for a life of grey cubicles, financial stability, and bad hair?

What I do know, however, is that if it wasn’t for this photography thing we have going, I would be much sadder and far more lost as to what I want to do. She & Me makes growing up feel okay. I love watching all of your lives transform as you grow into your new roles and identities. Maybe one of these days I’ll have the same wonder in regard to my own changing life.

Until then, you can find me at my corporate job, attempting to look at the world with fresh eyes every morning. Perhaps, even, with a heart as light as those children at the bonfire.

M

Reckoning with Adulthood